Iron Man director Jon Favreau says working with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige taught him to "keep the core fans in mind" while having an "outstretched hand" to newcomers when creating live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian. The inaugural Disney+ series, about an armored bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) operating in a lawless corner of the galaxy after the fall of the Galactic Empire, continues the George Lucas-created franchise on television as a throwback to 1977 blockbuster Star Wars. Like Iron Man, which launched the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, Favreau says the key to The Mandalorian was embracing new audiences while honoring old ones:
"We wanted to really wind it back to the things that inspired the original Star Wars and really get it small in scale and tell simple stories," Favreau told Deadline. "Because part of what you inherit when you're going to see Star Wars now is this whole history because the stories have been told for decades. And it was nice, with the new medium, to be able to start with a new set of characters to introduce a new audience."
Besides Pascal's almost-always masked Mandalorian, real name Din Djarin, a crop of never before seen characters includes allies Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), Kuiil (voice of Nick Nolte), and reprogrammed bounty-hunting droid IG-11 (voice of Taika Waititi).
Perhaps the most famous of the bunch is a 50-year-old foundling known as The Child — informally referred to as Baby Yoda — the galaxy's newest hit character who has become the cuddly mascot for a new generation of Star Wars fans.
"But we always knew… and this is something I learned from [working] over at Marvel and working with Kevin Feige, is you always want to keep the core fans in mind, because they have been the ones that have been keeping the torch lit for many, many years," Favreau said. "But these are also stories for young people and for new audiences. These are myths, and so you always want to have an outstretched hand to people who might not have that background."
That means "telling two stories at once," particularly when unfurling a series separate from but ultimately tethered to the episodic Star Wars saga that concluded with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
"You're telling the story for the people who are fresh eyes, and you're telling the story for the people who've been there with the property and with the stories and the characters for so many years," Favreau said, adding you have to "make sure that you're honoring them, as well."
In June, Favreau said filmmakers entrusted with carrying the Star Wars torch "have to listen" to audiences, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "It's not a one-way street. It's a two-way street."
The Mandalorian has since scored 15 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. Recent analytical data named the Dave Filoni and Kathleen Kennedy-produced Mandalorian the most in-demand original series from new streaming services ahead of the show's second season premiere arriving this October on Disney+.